The push up exercise has been a favorite of the military, police, football and fitness crowd pretty much since time began. Most often when push ups are called for, someone did something wrong and push ups for some reason seem to be the answer. While it is quite fun as an instructor to dish out the push up like candies to a fat kid, push ups should also be used in your body conditioning workout because they flat out work wonders.
Used correctly the push up is an awesome exercise for conditioning as well as strength gains. The reason for this is the scalability of the exercise and the lack of equipment needed to get great results.
When we talk about scalability of the push ups exercise, we are talking about how to start of with an easy version and escalate into a more advanced version, as the body is able to cope. This is the basis of all training for results. Continually imposed increasing demands on the body.
On the easy end of the spectrum of push up exercises we have the standard military pushup. If this is not attainable, you can always do them on your knees first. Once the standard push up exercise can be performed easily, it is only a matter of elevating the feet bit by bit to increase the resistance.
Before you move on to the more advanced versions, make sure that your standard push ups are perfect. This means touching the floor with the body as a solid straight line. Full depth and full extension in a controlled manner. No chopped reps here!
The biggest mistakes made when doing the push up exercise are:
Reaching for the floor with the head before body.
Letting the belly hit first. Having the elbows out very wide and high by the head.
Jacking the bum up like in the yoga downward dog at the top.
Not touching at the bottom.
Chopping your reps short from full extension.
Dive bombing – Coming down and forward on an angle.
Once you can do 50 honest, strict and controlled push ups, it’s time to move on.
On the other end of difficulty scale there is the handstand push up. This particular version of the push up has varying degrees of difficulty also. The holy grail of push up exercises is the handstand push up unsupported. No wall, no spotter, just you, the air and a whole lot of athletic ability.
For those that state a lack of equipment as a barrier to getting stronger, bigger and more athletic, the handstand push up exercise is a clean crisp slap in the back of the head. It’s gymnastics answer to the expensive, less functional and less effective midnight infomercials about the “wonder-whatever”. Here is a simple workout that will get you puffing and pumping based around the standard push up exercise.
Do eight sets of as many push ups as you can in 20 seconds. Rest only 10 seconds between each of the eight sets. Keep it strict and enjoy!